World Design Capital 2012 Shortlisted Cities Announced

World Design Capital 2012 Shortlisted Cities Announced

Following deliberations on 17 July 2009, the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) announced today on behalf of the members of the WDC Jury that the City of Eindhoven (The Netherlands) and the City of Helsinki (Finland) have been selected for the shortlist of cities that will move on to the next round of evaluation in the hopes of becoming World Design Capital in 2012.

The World Design Capital (WDC) is a biennial designation appointed to cities based on their accomplishments and commitment to design as an effective tool for social, cultural and economic development. Upon careful consideration, these two applications were retained based on their ability to demonstrate their relevancy to the WDC mission and vision.

The evaluation for the WDC designation is founded on a comprehensive assessment process spanning a five-month review and deliberation period, during which time, applicants were requested to demonstrate evidence of their strengths in the following areas: Design, Programming, Infrastructure and Financing.

Within the context of design, cities are evaluated on a multidisciplinary representation of design industries, the establishment of educational institutions where design programmes are available, as well as the existence of professional designers working within the city. In addition, applicants were asked to describe any areas in the city that have been directly impacted by design in a manner that has improved either the cultural and social standards of its citizens. Other areas for consideration included architectural interest points, urban reconditioning projects that may have transformed certain neighbourhoods, as well as an appreciation for communication design, industrial, interior and sustainable design initiatives. Under programming, cities proposals for a cohesive and inspiring theme were reviewed, which if selected, would be further developed and implemented in 2012. The infrastructure and financing segments of the application process provided necessary background information on existing installations within the city, as well as provided details relating to the financial support for the yearlong project.

Eindhoven Deputy Mayor and design councillor Marriët Mittendorff is extremely pleased with this place in the final. "I am very proud that we have been selected amongst the final two cities." With the title 'World Design Capital', Eindhoven reinforces the city's social-economic development through design to resolve social problems, as well as advance technological innovation and urban development. As the central city in the Brainport region, Eindhoven also offers an international stage to promote the design profile, creating new cooperative ventures, projects and innovations that contribute towards a better, more sustainable and caring society. "Eindhoven's place in the final offers even more opportunities for the Netherlands to highlight Dutch Design's place on the international map," stated Mittendorff.

Mr. Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of the City of Helsinki said "We are extremely proud and enthusiastic to be shortlisted for WDC 2012. Design has a key role in all of our strategies, so being shortlisted means that the jury understood our goal to create the city of our dreams by expanding the scope of design to all activities of society - businesses and individuals, as well as to our city.

"Helsinki has a vibrant design tradition but we also know that we must go further, beyond the edge of our limits and test the boundaries of design. The WDC project is an important step in this process and will help Helsinki to put design in a truly unique position in our society. This is powered by openness. We want to invite the world design community to join this process and share the results of our work. Helsinki is ready to be designated for WDC 2012."

In August 2009, representatives from Icsid will visit the shortlisted cities to further discuss their applications. These evaluation visits and briefings will present both cities with an equal opportunity to provide additional clarity and will be shared with the Jury in support of their final decision.

WDC Founding Chair and Icsid Senator Prof. Dr. Peter Zec said, "As per the jury's decision, the WDC 2012 shortlist is represented by two very qualified cities that have presented strong bids. They are already a testament to design effective cities that understand the value of the WDC designation as it relates to city development projects."

The final jury deliberation will take place in September 2009 in Montreal, Canada.

The official announcement of the WDC 2012 designated city will occur during the Icsid World Design Congress in Singapore on 25 November 2009.

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